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Mosaic World News

News/Business. English news reports from Middle Eastern broadcasters. (CC)

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Us 7, Los Angeles 6, United States 3, Suzanne 2, Ron 2, Occidental 2, Ramtha 2, Keith 2, Dr. Moore 2, America 2, Buddhism 2, Keith Naylor 2, Robert Moore 2, Moonies 1, Walter Capps 1, John Paul 1, Marge 1, Dabbe 1, Gandhi 1, Cecily Williams 1,
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  LINKTV    Mosaic World News    News/Business. English news reports  
   from Middle Eastern broadcasters. (CC)  

    November 29, 2012
    7:30 - 8:00pm PST  

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and non-conventionality and a pin from the unitarian it's got all the symbols >> this is from the rockford unitarian universalist church and the top is the cross of christianity and then the crescent and star of islam and then the olm of the hinduism. and then the star of david for judaism and then the yang and yin of daoism and then the wheel with the eight poled path of buddhism. >> and in the center? >> the eternal flame of the search for truth which is the symbol of unitarian universalism. >> now i'm going to get pinned? >> you are going to get pinned. [laughter] >> because you are a professor of religious studies. >> and i can wear this? >> and you can wear this because it's got all of them on it. >> see it's a neutral pin. [laughter] [applause] >> there you are see and that's the end of the lecture. >> thank you. [laughter] >> roll in quickly. just couple of more things. but, thank you helen, there is a couple of reasons we wanted to do that;
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first off, we needed to hear some thing about the unitarian universalists, but also how interesting helen's reaction i think that, when we're looking at these categories, believers are going to have their own say and where they belong and we have to understand that also, but thank you, this is really nice. the rest of the presents, i hope you'll be forth coming. [laughter] let me move on to non-conventionality. we'll tie up this scene, see a couple of provocative roll-ins and already with the unitarian universalists we will see there is some problem. so let's be even more careful i don't know whose toes i am going to step on with the non-conventionality here. but the key point is, think about longevity, how long they've been here traditions and it begins to see why people have some of prejudices they do. anyway, eastern traditions; only reason is they have not
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been in this country as long. although, they're moving much more into a middle ground. see how that is, they are moving into a middle ground because, now time is passing. we have a central world parliament of religion, the follow up we've had it's moving in conventionalities. other elements we might see here besides buddhism, are middle eastern traditions same situation. with islamic baha'i simply haven't been here as long there is some tensions with islam as we have seen, because of the political struggles between the middle east and the united states over a variety of issues. but more conventionality here, islam is now the second great faith in the united states way behind christianity but, it's surpassed judaism as the numbers here. we've had wonderful experiences with new age religion though note-- remember how the ramtha people and cynthia jones kind bridled at that term new age.
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they didn't particularly like it so it's a sociological term. but new religious movements, new spiritualities that are emerging, they are new, they are different. if it's different let's hate it. no! let's not. that's the attitude that we want to overcome here just because it happens to be new. skeptics, atheist, humanist, some of the most religious people i have ever met have been the atheist, they have a huge-- you can take the six dimensions and track it right on down. so, these are kinds of people in society that might not reflect the prevailing values, new revelations that may have an intense way prosthetising such as the unification church sometimes called moonies or scientology is always popping up because of various issues that people take with the establishment. anything else we might have here, going through the graphics; occult groups. these are kinds of religious as you seeing millennial groups once again, occultist groups, spiritualists; people who live
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on the fringe of the establishment, but for whatever reason, don't reflect the prevailing values and go through it. so, that's all we are talking about, you can take this same criteria and lay them down and you will get a different set of information as you move up. and so i'm going to leave sometime here for your really good comments and insights on the class so we really have just two short, but i think very profound roll- ins. this class is the last class but there is no back door on beliefs and believers. it's just an open ending run, take it where you go. but a couple of interviews we did i was going back through them, i don't know how many interviews we've done as we prepare for this course. and a couple jumped out at me as, this sort of fits the theme of at least the last class in this setting. the first is actually a good friend of mine, keith naylor and he is a professor at occidental college out in los angeles. and i was talking to keith and we were running the camera
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about what do we do about religious diversity and overcoming some of the cultural-- culture based problems that are not neutral. what does he see and particularly we are talking about socio-economic differences in the united states particularly a big city like los angeles. and also, unfortunately, racism. so if we could, let's hear keith respond to some questions about new directions for religion in america. one of the important goals of believes and believers is, for students to develop an appreciation for religious diversity. we're very fortunate today to have professor keith naylor, who is a professor of religious studies at occidental college in los angeles. keith, we're seeing in society a further gap in terms of the haves and have-nots, sort of a socio-economic gap. is this going to affect the organization of religions or are we going to see religions further splitting according to who has wealth and who doesn't in our society?
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>> well, i think we've already seen some of that in some places. but, being in los angeles i am seeing a different kind of model where, and i think this is the value of living a major urban centre-- where churches are and other religious groups are really seeing their mandate as closing that divide and bringing people together and building bridges across the class line that seems to be widening. again, some of my students have gone out to what would seem to be suburban type religious institutions, who could be sort of isolated, comfortable middle class people. and those people are developing strong bonds with what we might call inner city poor institutions, religious institutions and they are doing work together which i think always
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binds people well. work to improve the standing of people in the inner city. so, we are probably going in both those directions at the same time. the divide is widening but at least some churches and some other religious organizations are really trying to address that and working outside of their own class. >> in terms of los angeles being a microcosm of the united states, we look at it and we've seen quiet a bit of racial tension over the past six or seven years. do you see as a los angeles resident religions stepping in to ease that, to heal some of those wounds? >> yes i do, and i think it's the everyday activity of religious organizations that doesn't receive the publicity. let me give you a personal example; the church that i attend which is a mostly black congregation, is situated next door to a korean seventh
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day adventist church. and for the past three months the black church has met in the sanctuary of the korean church, because repairs from the earth quake are finally being done in our church. and they have offered that to us free of charge with a very welcoming approach. and this is a version of black-korean relationship that doesn't make the headlines and i think that kind of thing is going on, but it's on the community level and the media don't find that as interesting as some of the conflicts that have occurred. >> you know the media question aside, one reason why i wanted to bring that in at this juncture of the course at the end, is that it brings out another key class theme that keeps hitting me over and over again and it's been fairly recent. that there really is no such thing as religion,
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there are human beings and all these different religious organizations and religious systems that we've talked about this semester and we barely scratched the surfaces as you well know. there are people who for whatever reason and however they do are letting their religion transform them. and i think we've hit on it too many times to say it's just fluff for words or optimism or polly anna attitude when people allow their religions to transform them as we see with the korean and african american church. they cannot help but do things that are-- that create an ethical dimension that is beautiful, that is peaceful, that brings peace into the world. i mean, that's a struggle because religion is ideally supposed to do that, but we've explored so many situations where those culture based factors that i'm trying to alleviate through these neutral criteria, are still too strong. they are still too strong and they drag people down. now one more roll-in and then we'll just roll with it. hear what we all have to contribute here, looking forward to it.
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i want to do one other roll-in that really it's a good last interview; it really is a good last interview. and we're going back to professor robert moore who has many hats; he's a psychoanalyst, he's a professor at chicago theological seminary, he's also in private practice. but he is the president of the institute for world spirituality, which is a newly developed think tank to say, enough is enough. we have had religions and religious people from millennia; we can hide in our little corners in tribes and caves and argue with each other over doctrine. i keep going back to that wonderful image of fighting in the foot hills when the mountain is there for us to climb. we can do that or we can say let's take the best of religion, organize globally and work towards a world that finally, will bring peace not just to us but i think as we heard in another class to our children's, children's, children.
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can we do it? well here is an interesting perspective on that, if we could go to our last roll-in, in the class with professor robert moore from chicago theological seminary. >> only a few years ago, the nobel prize winning scientists of this planet joined together in a major statement in which they called on the religious leaders of the world. now these are incredibly sober minded, well informed scientists who don't-- are not hysterical types they are not persons who tend to exaggerate their claims, but they came together with one mind and they called upon the various religious and spiritual leaders of the world, to realize what a critical time we are in right now in the history of this planet. they pointed to a number
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of the problems which face us as a species and which threaten not only our existence, but the existence of all of the other species that are here with us. and they called upon the spiritual leaders to begin to corporate and find ways to become a united force for compassionate action toward a just and sustainable human future. now, this declaration by these nobel scientists was not widely publicized, and yet it shows i think for us in a nut shell that we are in a very decisive time in history. most of the well informed persons that i know, in various spheres of life today, are aware that we are living in what the great philosopher and theologian paul tillich called a kairos. a moment of very special significance in history, in which certain things that should happen, must happen,
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if they are ever going to be realized. these scientists believe that we have probably around 15 years or so to generate the kind of corporation and compassionate action and work on a variety of agendas if we are going to make a shift in course as a species that we'll take us away from the edge of the abyss which we are so rapidly approaching. now why is there religious research and dialogue and compassionate co-operative action important? i often say to my students here and all my close friends, i'm always amazed at the amount of co-operation, which those who are trying to destroy this planet, are engaged in. you know, there is tremendous team work between the various street gangs
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of the united states, for example. they are co-operating with each other and finding the most effective ways to sell drugs to our children. and this is spreading all around the world now. the organized crime of the world is networking and finding ways to co-operate to exploit human beings. it always has amazed me that people of faith, of the different traditions have done so poorly in organizing for cooperative action towards justice and towards a sustainable human future. >> you know, if i could think of one summary statement and, i'd better think of one soon since we are getting kind of the end of the line here, but i don't worry about that kind of stuff. but if i could think of one summary statement for beliefs and believers, it would come very close to helping bob out with his course. why come back and do another version of beliefs and believers? why put all the effort into it?
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because in just some small way i think this course, as it moves beyond this classroom and people see it can begin to see that religions, well they can't come together until some of these prejudices, some of these walls are worn down. and i think with this good group and you have been as much teachers in this course as i have been, perhaps more so with your good comments, your insights, your life experience all this has been incredible important. but together i think we've created a statement here in beliefs and believers ii, that's what we are going to call it, that yes indeed religious people can appreciate their differences, they can appreciate the uniqueness of their beliefs and honor those and have the feel of sense of integrity and cherish those. at the same time they can begin to break out and see what is common amongst themselves, so that we can come together both religious and non religious people or people who are in the middle ground, come together and say wait a second we can use these ideas about unity,
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about ethical beauty, about appreciation of tradition, about hope for the future, about a sense of inner connectness. all this great thoughts that have come up in this class we can use those to make it a better world. and as dr. moore says, i don't think he is too far off the mark, we better get down to thinking about it. i don know he's talking about nobel price winners and scientists and people of high power and high intellect way beyond anything that i could aspire to. but i sense, instinctively, that this is a time of change. this is a time where we have a kind of critical responsibility for those who will come after us to make some changes that will sustain life and not only that, make it better. and so, there we go. i think that's where we step out after this class, that's where i hope this class will move on to begin to inculcating people and get the dialogue going. but now let me hear some of your insights or some of your good thoughts. we've got, well let's go
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to janet and then suzanne. go ahead, janet. >> i'm just a beginning religious studies student and so i haven't thought about it with the depth that you have. but one thing i notice is that as i was reflecting on my final exam, is it seems like water is really a commonality between many of the religions. if you start with professor dabbe's story with the hindus with the river gandhi's. and then you go on to the north west coast native americans who believe that the first woman emerged from the sea. christianity is with baptism and even the islam's the suffies love the picture less love the water more. and even the ramtha's sharing the grace of water. it seems like there this biologically innate thing of humans need water, you need water; you can live without food for a longer time than you can without water. and it took us back to care of the earth-- because that's where the water comes from and what we rely on. so, i think if we focus on natural resources as a commonality which is already important to all these faiths,
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maybe that's the place to start. >> and an inter-connectness to water, to rivers to i mean you can see the tendrils almost in a mystical way going through the planet beautiful. yes, suzanne, i thought we --- >> you are on fire too? >> yes. >> but, i just spent the week kind of thinking about things too and i found this, which i had saved. it was a special issue of time magazine 1993 in the autumn. say, take good look of this woman, she was created by a computer from a mix of several races. what you see is remarkable preview of the new face of america and then the article was on the multi cultural society; how our immigrants are making this happen. and so it's a good thing, she is beautiful, yes? according to our present standards. [laughter] but, also i think there is risk involved in no matter what we do. there's risk-- in say living your life like this, trying to make it
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all, the rest of it go away. there is certainly is a risk in stepping out, opening your eyes and heart and mind to the new things that are there, to the changes that are going to happen whether we want them or not. and seeing the possibility-- potential, the good in them and latching out to that and helping it grow, and to nature it. i think there is nothing beyond change; lord deliver me from the person who knows all the answers. [laughter] those are the dangerous people-- but i don't know, good god. edward hayes and if there is time there's a psalm of new lines concealed, i think, would start opening people up. >> well, let me hold it for right now, because we've got a bunch of hands up here were down two minutes. sure. >> i was listening to dr. robert moore say that, there are many evil groups
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in the world who joined together for the detriment of humanity, more so than religious groups and churches. but i was thinking that here in the south suburbs we have an organization, an ecumenical organization called puds. it's for-- i think puds stands for something like people united to deliver shelter. and the purpose is to provide shelter during the winter months for homeless men and women and children. and this involves about 30 some churches, some of those churches provide space for people to come in and sleep at night. the mattress or pads are provided there are meals that are prepared by other groups in different churches. and the food is brought in for
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a hot evening meal and then a breakfast the next morning and then lunches are packed, so that these men and women can carry something with them, good nutritious food. and then there is also, we've come to the point that there is a day center open now in another church. where during the day time its kind like a warming center but it's also a center for people looking for education, and training, and employment and where they can get basic health services that are provided by doctors, organizations and hospitals and so on. and then there was a time, when various hospitals would provide the laundry, they would take care of the sheets and the towels.
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and what-- >> what i think we're seeing with that is-- i hacken back to cecily williams if you can remember him. back there that with religions you have the necessity of doctrines, and myths, and these elements, and dimensions that we've looked at, but you have to care about human beings. i think that's what you are hitting on here you have to take care of those basic human needs and have compassion for people because that's the instinct in religion, how often we don't see it-- >> she is also pointing out that it is inter-faith-- we have an inter-faith council-- it does pass. which is the church of the future maybe? >> some how as dr. moore say's we've got to break that down. yes, ron. >> pin, when you got pinned here-- [laughter] >> i really had a quite an experience with all the faiths being out there and i'm sure most of our sophisticated class here has run into the story about the seven blind men and the elephant.
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and the elephant. each one was right as far as they went, but they were wrong six other ways. but they described an elephant to their best. and so the truth was greater than any thing that any individual had. >> and that's a sense of humility that has i think susanna was hitting on that. as we go in to this quest there's risk, there is challenge, but a humble attitude is needed there too. because the risk part is the potentiality for demogogary when fear emerges. because change brings this up quick set of answers to profound life questions; somebody is in there, somebody is ruining it, we saw a bit of that with jim jones as we were moving though. go ahead follow up, ron. >> and still on that point, when people play bible tennis i smack you with one and they smack another one in back and so forth -- [laughter] i found out not to long ago that that is called sword ledge. in other words you can go
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to the bible if you can prove just about anything you want. you know god has feathers because under his wings he will cover you and things like that. but there is, having come out of that, kind of a back ground. there is a thing; they call it "laying a fleece before god" it goes back to gideon and so forth. what you do is you flop the bible open and put your finger down if you've got a particular problem and you read it and that's your answer. so there is a story on that basis of a guy that was having trouble, and he put his finger in the bible and it says judas went out and hang himself. [laughter] oh no, that can't be for me. so hey looks at that again and put his finger down and it said go thou and do like wise. [laughter] >> my mentor walter capps used to try that and he said the guy had a terrible problem probably put his finger down and it said "esau was a hairy man." [laughter] let me get sheila here.
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>> actually, i think listening to this whole class about all the different religions, to me it seems like there is almost more commonality than-- than not. and like this is a supreme being that has come up through the times for all the various all the religions he just decided he/she whatever. and said well this culture would go a little bit better if i form the religions this way. i'll put a little cork in this one over here because this culture goes better for this one. i mean the more i hear, the more it seems like we are basically coming from all the same beliefs we just-- [inaudible] >> i'm going to put in some words for it. john paul ii who goes around the world and in apostle countries preaching peace and love and unity and i think we need more holy men preaching
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the same thing. >> i believe marge we've got about a minute here. fire away. >> i was just going to say i think that all the world religions seem to have three basic things, achieve salvation, do good, avoid evil and the things that are different about them are the things that come down from the dogma, manmade maybe, maybe heaven inspired, may be myth man made. those are the things that differentiate most religions i think. >> and i think we've touched on that throughout the class and believe or not we are down to our last minute here. but i mean that's such a key point that we've seen as we've gone through this, that yes religions have ideals and unity and love and peace and these are qualities that we need to work for, it's hard to pull out of the mud and the muck of culture. so, but well -- [inaudible]
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well, on that note, why don't we toast to a good future here. [applause] as we are rolling down here, thank you to the crew, the wonderful crew, thank you to all of you--- >> do you know there is a form. i hope you have filled it out professor. [laughter] >> a toast to our wonderful leader. [applause] >> well you're the best group of students. james did you have a comment we kind of still rolling but-- >> do you see universities in general. taking the task of teaching the religious diversity courses as the years go by? >> i think it will pick up. we have the academy of religion and i ho it will. the american academy religion of course fosters this kind of-- religious diversity courses
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on it so we-- definitely hope to see it as we go by. but to you great students, thank you for the best semester. can i drink this? is it against my religion? [laughter]
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